Fair Trade

The economy in Africa is heavily dependent on the export of raw materials. Unlike other continents, there is hardly any industry. Africa largely supplies the world market with unprocessed raw materials like agricultural products, ores, minerals and other natural resources. Thus, African countries are vulnerable to falling market prices for these commodities. The processing and completion of these products are done predominantly in industrialized countries. More money is made through this process than by selling the raw commodities.

Africa is starting to modernise and develop, challenging negative perceptions of the continent. This includes rebuilding after war and civil strife, beginning processes of democratization, implementing effective HIV/ AIDS prevention programmes and general strengthening of civil society. The economy of many countries is also strengthening and the growth rate currently stands at about 5%.

The proportion of women who are active in public and political life has grown in recent years. These positive developments in Africa are supported by fair trade. This is done, for example, by the participation and advancement of women in the producer’s groups. Thus, opportunities for women in society have increased. Advice from the organisation Fair Trade International (FLO) has enabled additional projects to be initiated and thus allows producers access to world trade, but also to the intra-African market.

Through the Fair Trade premium and other related social projects, new perspectives on African trade are being created. Not only is infrastructure being strengthened, but the living conditions of people are improving. Worldwide sales of fair trade products have increased annually in recent years by almost 40%. This is largely due to the growing demand for fair trade products from Africa. 

In 2002, 19 fair trade certified producer organisations existed in 12 African countries. By 2006, there were 24 countries and 159 fair trade certified organisations which include coffee producers from Ethiopia, wine producers from South African, cocoa producers from Ghana, flower producers from Kenya and Tanzania and cotton producers from Burkina Faso.

The range of fair trade African products continues to grow.  The next 13 companies that were declared to have fair trade certified products all come from African countries  and in 2002 there were only seven products. In a brochure, "Bread for the World" writes that the purpose of fair trade is to, "half poverty and trade fair." In 2006, a producer based in Tanzania launched the African network of producers which participates actively in the development of fair trade worldwide.

This booklet shows that fair trade contributes to a better life for people in many African countries and is helping countries grow and move towards towards meeting the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. 

More Information on the Fairtrade Association can be found at:  http://www.fairtrade.de/index.php/mID/2.1.1/lan/de. In 2009, the Fairtrade Label South Africa (FLSA) was established as the first fair trade marketing organisation in the developing southern area of the continent. For the first time, a producing country was actively promoting fair trade in the local market and working on fostering trade based on fair trade principles The South Africa Fairtrade Label is the first African organization that has become an associate member of FLO . It is the first African organization that has become an official member of FLO. In addition, due to something called the Fairtrade Premium,  the producers receive additional funds for use on various social development projects. The communities, producers and farmers’ unions themselves decide how these premiums are used. 

Products with the fair trade label in South Africa are mainly wine, coffee and rooibos tea. On 27 April 2009, South Africa signed an agreement with FLO to promote trade certified products across the country. The new agreement has not only increases the number of products, but also increased the availability of fair trade products for consumers and in turn continue to grow the organisation.

Fair Trade: Pineapples

ghana ananas bluete-150The pineapple plant is native to Southern and Central America, but is now grown in most tropical areas throughout the world. Among the largest producers of pineapple is Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil, China, and India. The fresh fruit originates mainly from the Philippines and various African countrie, primarily Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso. 

The pineapple grows in a very warm climate with high and uniform average temperatures of 25-32 ° C and dry soils. Pineapple plants can grow individually, but also together with other plants, similar to palm trees. Pineapple is often grown on huge monoculture plantations. 

Fresh pineapple is often contaminated with pesticides, including hazardous chemicals, which have long been forbidden for human consumption. The use of these pestivides and fertilizers also puts the health of farm workers at risk. Organic and fair trade offers the opportunity to improve both the environmental and working conditions on pineapple plantations. 

ghana ananas ernteA good example of an organic and fair trade pineapple producer is the fruit farm organic Exotica in southeastern Ghana. The fair trade pineapples are grown in a dry and remote area on the shores of Lake Volta. This pineapple company is the only employer in the region and offers jobs to 100 workers.  Exotica started with the organic cultivation of pineapple due to the fact that the Volta region was not only geographically, but also economically completely isolated from the rest of the country because of a dam. The population was able to survive primarily through cassava cultivation (Manoik). Since pure, clean water is available through the reservoir and the soil is of good quality, the conditions there were favourable for growing pineapples. 

The surrounding area was developed when a road was built. This made the export of the commodity possible and has made the people of the area more mobile. Due to Bio-Exotica, the standard of living of the people in this region has increased significantly.

Fair Trade: Cotton

baumwolle afrika 150African grown cotton is mainly produced in the West African countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and the Ivory Coast. More than 10 percent of annual global exports of cotton come from Africa. The production and cultivation of cotton supports between 15 and 20 million families living in cotton producing areas. The commodity has come to be known as "white gold". These figures show the enormous potential fair trade cotton production has in reducing poverty. 

Worldwide, about 350 million people are employed the production and processing of cotton. This has made cotton the most important natural fibre in the world. The worldwide acreage used for cotton cultivation is 33.6 million acres, or two percent of the total cultivated farmland. 

By promising African farmers access to the world cotton market, the world market share of African grown cotton has doubled in the last three decades. The cotton industry is more difficult to regulate than a few other fair trade industries.  This is due to the fact that the United States and the European Union offer subsidies to their local producers.  While farmers in the north remain competitive through grants, farmers in the south have to fight for their share of the cotton market with low purchase prices. They have losses and some even have unsold crops. This has serious consequences for poor cotton producing countries, especially Burkina Faso, which is one of the poorest countries in the world. 

Many farmers in Burkina Faso consider the cultivation of biotech cotton a way to escape their financial difficulties and to increase their sales. This can be explained by the higher resistance of these plants to pests and the reduced need for pesticides. But this new technology brings significant problems because of a lack of comprehensive understanding of the risks of planting biotech cotton. The fields cultivated with genetically modified (GM) crops need at least three times as much water as conventional cotton fields. In countries where there are permanent water shortages, this could prove problematic. Due to the lack of irrigation, biotech cotton is simply inappropriate for some regions. 

Fairer Handel produzenten baumwollpflueckerinIf the crop fails, the chance of making any profit is lost too. The farmers’ lack of biotech cotton knowledge may lead to personal disaster if their crops fail. A further disadvantage of gene technology is the enormous dependence of farmers on plant breeders, because the new seeds of biotech crops need to be purchased annually. Conventional cotton, however, can be bred by the farmers themselves. Organic material can be used as a fertilizer, which is not possible with GM cotton. Farmers who have opted for this method of cultivation must buy chemical fertilizer. The costs are obviously much higher than the conventional method and often require loans. 

The livelihoods of farmers is generally not secured because of the possibility of crop failure. This could result in huge debt which could lead to the seizure of their land and thus to the loss of their livelihood. Due to the risks to humans and the environment, fair trade dissociates itself from the biotech growing method. 

The cultivation of fair trade cotton is not only conducted without genetic engineering, but most organic foods are grown without fertilizers and pesticides. For cotton producers, the union of a cooperative that participates in fair trade, is a better alternative to the cultivation of cotton through GM products. 

As is the case with all fair trade products, the farmers receive a fair wage for their hard work. This is especially the case with cotton because there is no standard on the world market price. The price is determined locally, and thus  can be very different. Therefore, compensation is determined by the quality, level of production costs and the region, the minimum price is 51-36 Euro cents. When you consider the extreme volatility of the price of conventional cotton, fair trade is an optimal solution to give the producers a secure livelihood. 

Fairer Handel produzenten baumwollpflueckerin mit kindAdditional information on fair trade cotton and organic cotton can be found at TransFair and eco-fair, the PAN Germany Project, Pesticide Action Network "Cotton Connection", and Helvetas. Production history of cotton production can be found at TransFair which has a detailed report on cotton from Burkina Faso  and provides the DVD King Cotton or cotton as a fate from the BMZ and the following Video of TransFair.

Fair Trade: Flowers

Fairer Handel produkte rosenWhile vast numbers of flower species are grown all over the world, the ideal climatic conditions of many African countries has made them the primary producers of many cut flowers. Kenya and Tanzania make up most of the African cut flower market. In Kenya alone, the rose industry creates approximately 20,000 direct jobs. Unfortunately, the production of these flowers is associated with some social and environmental problems. 

As in many countries where various products are cultivates, in the flower producing industry, workers are subject to inhumane working conditions.  Workers often receive only a small salary at irregular intervals, have only short-term contracts, and no set work or rest periods. In general, they work more than 48 hours a week and are not entitled to social benefits such as maternity leave. They also work on plantations where pesticides are used. This could result in considerable environment and human health consequences. 

Fairer Handel produzenten rosen pflueckerinCut flowers are very susceptible to diseases, are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and have a very short life span. To ensure that they grow quickly and are able endure the lengthy transportation to import countries, they are sprayed with toxic chemicals. There are 200,000 flower workers worldwide, two-thirds of which are women. Exposure to these toxic chemicals may lead to headaches, stomach pain, bloodshot eyes, respiratory problems, and allergies. In order to improve the working conditions of people on the plantations, international trade unions, human rights organisations, agencies and associations of florists have founded the Flower Label Programme (FLP). This programme strengthens the fair trade standards, in particular the rights of women who make up the majority of the workers. 

The FLP issues certificates to producers, wholesale florists and traders (similar to the Fairtrade seals) which could give consumers peace of mind. A producer must meet several FLP standards including paying living wages, freedom for unions, equal treatment of employees, prohibition of child labour, mandatory employee health care through the banning highly toxic pesticides, and responsible use of natural resources. Compliance with these requirements is regularly audited by independent organisations. Violation of these requirements leads to the withdrawal of the certificate. 

Fairer Handel produzenten blumen 150On their homepage, FLP, as well as the section of TransFair involved in fair trade florists and wholesalers can be found. Here you can find a movie on the cultivation of roses. Additional background information includes the brochure on the "fair flowers" campaign." With Flowers for Human Rights, "Fair Flowers" is a European campaign of Vamos eV and partner organisations FIAN Germany, FIAN Belgium, FIAN Austria, Network awareness Verbruiken (Belgium) and the Ecumenical Academy Prague (Czech Republic). Photos: TransFair

Fair Trade: Coffee

haende-kaffeeebohnen-150Coffee is the world's most important export commodity after oil. The coffee plant is grown in 76 countries and about 100 million people are involved in the processing of this product. In sub-Saharan Africa, the coffee plant grows in Angola, Madagascar, St. Helena, Cape Verde, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Uganda, Burundi, Congo, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Sao Tome (Principe), Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritius, Malawi, Sudan, and the Ivory Coast. Due to the vast amount of coffee producing countries on the continent, it is not surprising that Africa supplies around one sixth of the raw material in the globe. 

The two main types of coffee are Arabica from East Africa, with a share of 61% of the coffee export market, and Robusta, which grows in West Africa, and has a share of about 39% of coffee exports. Both species grown in the middle of the continent. Arabica is the "original" and is better quality than Robusta, which is often used for blends with other varieties of coffee. 

The price of coffee has fallen steadily in recent years. This has been a result of factors including excessive production and too high a supply relative to the demand. Payment of the farmers on the commercial route depends on the world market price. This is subject to constant fluctuations because the price is negotiated on the stock market. Dependence of the producers on intermediaries also leads to further loss of revenue. This often leads to insufficient profits once the production costs are covered, which inevitably leads farmers and farm workers into debt. Since the producers and workers cannot rely on a consistent and sustainable payment for the conventional sale of their product, they do not have a secure livelihood. 

By contrast, fair trade coffee is purchased directly from the small farmer cooperatives in order to avoid the loss of revenue through intermediate traders. This method takes advantage of the dependence of producers who often see no way to market their own products and export them to other countries. A crucial part of the revenue therefore goes to the traders while farmers receive the lowest share in profits. For this reason, fair trade organisations have set standards that enable the producers and workers to enjoy a better quality of life. 

kaffeebohnen roh 150Fair trade companies want to guarantee the safety of producers and workers by helping them meet their living costs and avoid further debt. The producers receive a guaranteed minimum price, which promises them security and a better quality of life and prevents further poverty. This policy helps countries such as Burundi, where coffee sales constitute 90% of total exports. 

Fair trade coffee now ranges from ground and unground coffee to instant coffee and a selection of espresso varieties. The proportion of organically grown coffee is also growing, which is good for farmers as well as the environment. 

One example is the Kagera Cooperative Union (KCU) in northwestern Tanzania. For coffee produced by organic farming, growers will receive an additional fee of 20 cents per pound. Producers who sell fair trade, organic coffee get an additional 1,71 € on a 500 gram packet. Glory MF Miaka, a coffee farmer in the Cooperative Association KNCU (Kilimanjaro Native Co-operative Union) in Tanzania reported here about their daily lives and their views on fair trade. GRUGA in Essen provides insights into the history and culture of the world of coffee. This project is an excellent example of how the people living here and the living and working environment of the coffee growers in the south can be brought closer together. In addition to information about Fairtrade also Röstseminare and workshops are offered on a coffee theme. There is a large amount of information about fair trade coffee on the site of Alex Kunkel "The Roaster": http://www.derroester.de/blog/ Photo Credits coffee branch: TransFair / Didier Gentilhomme Photo credit Glory MF Miaka : All rights GEPA

Fair Trade: Cocoa

produkte kakao150Approximately 90% of chocolate in the world is consumed in industrialized countries. However, most of the ingredients used in the making of chocolate, like cocoa and sugar, come from poor countries in the southern part of the world.

Cocoa is grown in about 50 tropical countries around the world. Almost 70% of raw cocoa comes from West Africa, the majority of which comes from the Ivory Coast which has a 44% of the global market. Ghana is also a major cocoa producer, holding about 12% of global market share, along with Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo. 85% of small farmers produce about 85% of the world's cocoa crop. It is scientifically known as Theobroma cacao (food of the gods). The cocoa tree is an evergreen shade plant that grows in the tropical rain forest and is about eight to fifteen feet high. 

There are several varieties of cocoa within the Kakaoart family. There are distinct differences between the two basic forms of cocoa: Criollos (Kreolenkakao) and Forastero. The Kreolenkakao produces fine cocoa which is low in acidity, but supplies are limited due to lower yields. The Forastero is very dark and in bitter taste. The greater amount of seed produces high yields. Today's cocoa beans are usually crosses between the two basic forms. The variety Trinitarios is one example. These hybrids combine the positive properties of each and produce a high yield. 

The cocoa market is one of the most unstable in the world. In 2001, the world market price for a ton of cocoa beans was about 850 U.S. dollars. In January 2002, the same amount cost 735 U.S. dollars. By January 2003, the cost was 2,360 U.S. dollars. The fluctuating prices threaten the existence of the cocoa farmers who are dependent on the export of their products. Through fair trade, the livelihood of the farmers can be significantly improved, because they are not subject to price fluctuations. Certified fair trade importers pay a minimum price of 1,600 U.S. dollars for a ton of fair trade cocoa, and a premium of U.S. $ 150 for social and environmental investments. 

When the world market price rises above this value, the cocoa farmers get a higher world market price and maintain the premium of U.S. $ 150. Organically grown cocoa also has am additional fee of $ 200. The commodity price for eco-fair cocoa is thus 1,950 U.S. dollars per ton. Fair trade explicitly supports small farmers who have organized themselves into cooperatives. They are supported provided that the production of cocoa/chocolate is done without genetically modified crops and ingredients. The farmers also have to contractually comply with the following standards: the cooperatives must be politically independent and have a democratic structure; the cooperative members must be mainly from small family farms; the small farmers must be directly and, democratically involved in all important decisions made by their cooperative. This applies especially to the use of the additional proceeds from fair trade organisations that are committed to the sustainable development of ecology, education and the advancement of women. For chocolate with the Fairtrade label, all ingredients that are available with the seal be one hundred percent fair trade. 

FLO (http://www.fairtrade.net/) has not developed standards for some ingredients. These resources must still have been obtained and used under conditions which are compatible with those of fair trade. For this purpose, besides the ban on child labour and mandate on environmentally friendly production, it also includes control by the FLO-Cert GmbH. The exact opposite of these fair working conditions are described in "The Dark Side of Chocolate," an article in the March 2009 issue of Greenpeace magazine . The article provides a harrowing report on children and slave labour on the cocoa plantations of the Ivory Coast. More about cocoa farming and working conditions can be found in the studies and articles at:  http://www.fairtrade.de/index.php/mID/2.5.3/lan/de 

The study, "Human Rights in the cultivation of cocoa - An inventory of the initiatives of the cocoa and chocolate industry," was created as part of the Lighthouse project "Human Rights, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development" of the INEF. It can be downloaded at:  http://humanrights-business.org/files/menschenrechte_im_anbau_von_kakao_huetz-adams.pdf 

The study found that there are major shortcomings in cocoa farming in Ghana. Many farmers still live below the poverty line and child labour is widespread. Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa beans in Africa and is known for the quality of its crop.
The NRW partner country, Ghana, is one of the major cocoa producing countries in Africa. Since the turn of the century, the economic situation in Ghana has been connected with the ups and downs of cocoa cultivation. Until 1992, there was solely state cocoa marketing, The farmers had to adjust cocoa to low and uncertain prices to sell to government middlemen.

In April 1993, once the cocoa market was open to private enterprise, the Kuapa Kokoo Union (MSEs) based in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, was founded. Supported financially and professionally by a Dutch and an English NGO, the MSEs was the first state-independent association of cocoa producers who took over the marketing of its own cocoa. There were approximately 45,000 members in the MSE. The exporting of good cocoa (Kuapa Kokoo) is, however, still done on the State Cocoa Marketing Company. Thus, the MSE cannot offer substantially better rates than the middlemen who work for the state. However, the organization enjoys a special right. They are able to sell fair trade cocoa directly to exporters. 

About 15% more money is received for fair trade cocoa. This ensures that all members of the union can be paid adequately. Farmers also receive the Fairtrade premium. In the worldwide cocoa business, significantly more revenue is made from chocolate rather than with the actual commodity of cocoa. The MSEs have been able to profit from this value. The farmers of the MSEs are major shareholders in a company that was founded in 1997 by the UK chocolate company "Divine Chocolate Limited". They are entitled to the return from the sale of this chocolate. In addition, the farmers today hold about one-third of the shares  http://www.eza.cc/WLP/pro_info/301046_Kuapa_Kokoo_Union.pdf). Fair trade allows 45,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana to have a better life. 


Fair Trade: Tea

fairer handel produkte teeTea is one of the most popular beverages and an indispensable part of everyday life for many people.

Almost all tea exporting countries are former British colonies. In the early 20th century, the British created the first tea plantations in Africa. Today, the main export countries are Kenya, Malawi, Burundi, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe . They are primarily produced in the Cut, Tear, Curl or CTC  method of breaking the tea leaves. In addition, various tea blends are created for the big packers in the world.

About 13% of global tea production happens in Africa. The finest tea comes from the highlands of Kenya. This tea is similar to a fruity-tangy Ceylon tea.

The market price of tea varies depending on the quality of cultivation and processing methods. On the world market, prices are subject to extreme fluctuation.

Fair trade prices are adjusted to cover production costs. In addition, the Fairtrade premium is used specifically for the improvement of living and working conditions of small farmers, plantation workers and picker’s families. Depending on the type of tea and the manufacturing process, the amount of the premium differs. The premiums ranges from 0.50 or 1.00 euros per kilo. 

When countries and corporations agree to be adopt fair trade, producer countries have to statutorily and collectively agree on minimum standards to be met in order to be labelled as fair trade. This particularly relates to guarantees for employees including a set level of wages, employee benefits, and health and safety regulations. They also seek long-term purchase contracts between manufacturers and importers.

Rooibos Tea

The Rooibos bush grows only in the Cederberg Mountains in the southwest region of South Africa. Rooibos is not really a tea bush, it belongs to the legume family. It is similar in flavour to black tea, however, it is fruity and sweet. The tea is caffeine free and contains few tannins. In South Africa, Rooibos is not only used as a beverage, but also for baking, cooking and for making cosmetics.

Fair Trade: Wine

fairer handel wein produzent suedafrika150About 68% of global wine production takes place in Europe, but winning wines from developing countries are becoming increasingly important.

The first certified wine cooperatives existed in South Africa, where the majority of fair trade wine is grown.  Other countries producing fair trade wines are Chile and Argentina.

In South Africa, the main varieties of wine that are produced are Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Merlot and Cinsault. Approximately 400,000 people earn a living in the viticulture industry, primarily through working in vineyards and in cellars.

When FLO is in agreement with the producer organisations, they set minimum prices that must be paid regardless of price fluctuations. For every kilo of grapes, the producers in South Africa receive 0.15 € (in Chile are 0.25 euros), plus a Fairtrade premium of 0.05 euros per kilo for investment in social, economic and environmental development of the organization. An additional surcharge of at least 0,026 euros per kilo is paid for organic grapes.

Thus, production happens under decent working and living conditions and the everyday cost of living is improved. There are long-term supply relationships sought and if necessary, a credit is granted for the pre-harvest period. (up to 60% of the purchase price is possible).

The producer groups decide what the additional revenue from fair trade is used. However, the FLO check whether the decisions are made democratically.


Fair Trade: Sugar

zucker-afrika-150Sugar is an important ingredient for many products such as candies, cookies and ice cream. As with many other products, it is also subject to the world market price fluctuations. The victims of these price fluctuations are particularly producers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In addition, the sugarcane farmers have to compete with subsidized sugar exports in the industrialized countries.

While Europe was once known as the largest importer of sugar, it has evolved to become one of the largest producers and exporters of sugar. In addition, overproduction, EU protectionism and competition from synthetic sweeteners have made the lives of African producers difficult. As the weakest link in the chain, traditional sugar producers are paying the price for this development.  

Fairtrade sugar comes predominantly from developing countries, especially from Costa Rica, Peru, Paraguay, and the Philippines. In Africa, sugar is grown in Malawi. With their dependence on sugar exports, peasant families are struggling in producing countries with the world market, and with landowners and corporations in their own countries. Through fair trade, direct purchases are guaranteed to the cooperatives and they can manage long-term trade relations. 

A very positive example of fair trade in sugar is the sugar cooperative Kasinthula in Malawi. The cooperative was established in 1996 by the government to improve the living conditions of the population. The country’s population is among the poorest in sub-Saharan Africa. The small scale farmers of Kasinthula live in the low-lying Chikwawa area, which has the lowest rainfall in the country. While the area is prone to drought, and thus possible famine, in the rainy season the region is extremely vulnerable to flooding. 

More than 85% of Malawi's population makes an income from farming. After tobacco and tea, cane sugar is considered the third most important export product in the region. However, the developments of the sugar industry was majorly effected by high investment costs, lack of infrastructure and technology, and inadequate health care of workers. The cooperative Kasinthula has not only helped alleviate the plight of the poor and largely illiterate farmers, but also today the cooperative is even helping small-scale farmers become self-sufficient. 

During 2002, the sugar cooperative was certified by FLO and now supplies Fairtrade cane sugar to Europe and the United States. Through the Fairtrade premium, many projects have been invested in successfully. Particular attention has been paid to improving access to safe drinking water and electricity; to improvements in health care and education; and, to improvement of the quality of the harvest. Exford Dimo, a Kasinthula sugarcane farmer, said, "The premiums from fair trade sales have improved our income and our social status. Part of the funds raised will be invested into Auspflügen and Wiederbepflanzen, allowing us to run our business sustainably."